We examine our most highly recommended Toyotas and what makes them standout from the rest of an impressive lineup.
Toyota has built up their brand around producing practical, reliable vehicles to suit a variety of customers. From legends like the Supra and Land Cruiser to commuter classics like the Corolla and Camry, Toyota has earned every bit of their reputation for quality and their current lineup remains consistent with that legacy.
For the Best Toyotas of 2021 we’ve identified three models that epitomize the Toyota brand. They represent the best Toyota has to offer across multiple metrics including segment competitiveness, delivering on expectations, flexibility of options (from features to powertrains), and overall quality.
The return of the storied Supra nameplate has been both exciting and controversial. That’s because, for good or ill, the Supra shares its powertrain(s) and other underpinnings with the BMW Z4. Despite the naysaying of some diehard Supra fans, the resurrected version is an excellent sports car capable of delivering all (or at least most of) the thrills of the original.
The 2021 Toyota GR Supra offers two engine options. The base is a 2.0L four-cylinder making 225 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Adequate power, but what most buyers will be looking for is the 3.0L straight-six. That engine makes a full 382 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with sharp steering, powerful brakes, and an adaptive sport suspension (exclusive to the larger 3.0L), the Supra 3.0 delivers a sports car experience competitive with the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche Cayman, both considerably more expensive.
The Supra’s sportiness extends into the interior with a driver-centric design. The sport seats are an excellent balance of snug bolstering and plush comfort suitable for long highway drives. Interior creature comforts include an 8.8-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, and digital dash display. There’s also a very generous list of standard and available safety features ranging form blind post monitoring and adaptive cruise control to lane keep assist and pedestrian detection.
In all, the 2021 Toyota GR Supra is one of the best sports cars on the market. Despite the BMW components, from behind the wheel the Supra delivers on its storied legacy, making it one of the best Toyota cars of the year.
Typically, being a jack-of-all-trades means giving up something in the process. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 stands out because it makes almost none of the typical compromises in its quest to be a great all-around vehicle. The RAV4 provides a potent mixture of efficiency, power, comfort, and modern convenience that makes it one of the best models Toyota has to offer.
One of the RAV4’s chief virtues is it’s the wide selection of powertrain options. The base engine is a 2.5L making 203 horsepower and comes with an 8-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard with the option for all-wheel drive. Fuel economy comes in at 28 city and 35 highway mpg for the FWD version and 25/32 for AWD. The stellar RAV4 Hybrid pairs the 2.5L with two electric motors for 219 horsepower and an impressive 41/38 mpg. For the utmost in efficiency, there’s also the RAV4 Prime with has even more powerful electric motors in tandem with the 2.5L to make 302 horsepower. This allows the RAV4 Prime to deliver 42 miles of electric only driving, nearly 600 miles of total range, a 94-mile mpg-e rating, and to top it all off a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds, making it the second swiftest Toyota after the Supra.
Powertrains aren’t the only area in which the RAV4 excels. The stylish, well-executed interior offers a good amount of both passenger and cargo space along with all manner of modern creature comforts. The 8-inch touchscreen houses a user-friendly infotainment system complete with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. Options include heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic moonroof, and an 11-speaker JBL premium stereo.
Perhaps strongest of all is the RAV4’s list of standard safety features that include items like lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control, among many others.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 and its hybrid variants are not only among the very best Toyota has in its lineup, they’re also some of the best options in the compact crossover segment. And if you’re inclined toward a hybrid crossover, there’s no better option than the RAV4.
The best-selling sedan for the last two decades, the Toyota Camry in 2021 is much more than just a practical commuter car. With loads of panache, the Camry proves that affordable sedans don’t have to be boring. Instead, the Camry is an impressive balance of style and substance with flexible powertrain options, a stellar interior, and loads of the latest in automotive technology.
Like the RAV4, there’s a Camry powertrain for everyone. The base 2.5L four-cylinder makes 203 horsepower, comes paired with an 8-speed automatic, and can be had with front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is good, with the FWD version getting 28 city and 39 highway mpg while the AWD dips slightly to 25/34. For more power, there’s a 3.5L V6 which muscles up a full 306 horsepower but gives up a bit of efficiency in the process, coming in at 22/31 mpg, and comes exclusively in FWD. The Camry’s hybrid option matches the 2.5L four-cylinder with two electric motors for 208 horsepower and a near-Prius level of efficiency at 51/53 mpg.
It’s hard to determine which is more striking, the exterior of the Camry with its aggressive front end, or the interior, featuring swooping lines and an impressive, high-quality finish. The cabin not only looks good but is quite comfortable too. There’s a good amount of room front and back and added amenities like heated and ventilated seats. The infotainment system comes housed in either a 7- or 9-inch touchscreen and offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and optional navigation. Like the RAV4, there are also loads of additional options and features like that JBL stereo, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless phone charging.
The list of standard safety features is long here too and includes items like forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, lane trace and lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control to name just a few.
The 2021 Toyota Camry is among the very best sedans on the market (and arguably the best looking in its class). There’s a powertrain for every persuasion, comfortable and composed ride, and loads of options and standard safety features to round out one of the best Toyota cars. Oh, and before we forget, the Camry is also competitively priced, starting at $24,970.
The venerable Toyota Tacoma is a good, if not quite great, mid-sized pickup. Whatever the Tacoma gives up in on-road manners and interior refinement, it more than compensates with its classically rugged build quality and off-road capabilities. While it’s not the very best in Toyota’s lineup, the Tacoma is our go-to recommendation for anyone looking for something reliable enough to keep for decades and rough enough to take whatever you throw at it in that time.